SFCM held its annual Convocation ceremony Friday, September 21, an event that brought together the entire student body, faculty, and staff to celebrate the beginning of the school year. This year’s ceremony featured guest speaker Matthew Shilvock, general director of San Francisco Opera, as well as the presentation of awards to faculty member Marcie Stapp and student Elizabeth Antici ’19.
Marcie Stapp, accepting the Sarlo Family Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching presented by SFCM President David H. Stull, was clearly moved by the honor of being this year’s recipient of the accolade.
“Right now, I am speechless in any language,” the diction teacher quipped. “It’s true, I do love being a teacher, and I think, more than that, I love being a student … I can say that every minute I have spent here for 30 years, as a teacher or a student, has been priceless to me, and certainly none more than this one right now.”
Right afterwards, faculty member Catherine Cook sang Jake Heggie’s arrangement of Strauss’ “Morgen!” accompanied by student Maria van der Sloot ’19, alumnus Kevin Korth ’08, and other faculty members Kay Stern, Dimitri Murrath, and Jennifer Culp.
SFCM Interim Dean Jonas Wright presented horn player Elizabeth Antici with the Presser Undergraduate Scholarship. Each year, one student is given this award based on the recommendation of faculty. Antici, being a model student who always aims high, fit the bill for this award.
Kevin Rivard, Antici’s teacher, wrote, “Ellie’s work ethic and determination is unlike most. When most are ready to give up, she pushes forward. When others require a break, she goes to the practice room. The example that she sets is inspiring to all who see it.”
“Pull out your phones and mark the date: her senior recital will be April 2nd at 11:00 AM,” Rivard managed to throw in.
Matthew Shilvock’s speech was one of introspection and aspiration. “Think about everything that has brought you here to this moment, being here in this hall as an accomplished musician ready to begin the next chapter of your journey,” he said. “You have already accomplished so much to be here.”
Shilvock emphasized that everyone, not just the students in the hall, was on a journey, and that the journey never stops. “It’s futile to dig in your heels to follow one pathway or spend too long worrying about where that path is headed, for in life there really is no map to follow: there are only maps that we create.”
After detailing his path in opera administration, Shilvock relayed his wish for the captive students. “Be present in every moment of your own journey. You never know what you might see in your peripheral vision. It could be the guidepost that helps you determine where to turn next.”
After Shilvock’s speech, voice major Chasiti Walker ’19 sang “Io son l'umile ancella” from Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur accompanied by Mai-Linh Pham. It was a touching way to end the ceremony, speaking to the muse present in all.